Pre-event press conference for the latest round of the World Rally Championship - Rally Finland.
Drivers: Mikko Hirvonen
(BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team), Sebastien Loeb
(Citroen Total World Rally Team), Kimi Raikkonen and Matti Rantanen (Munchi's Ford World Rally Team).
Mikko, yesterday Ford confirmed its participation within the WRC for the next two years and confirmed yourself and Jari-Matti Latvala
as the drivers. That is incredibly positive news in the current economic climate, you must be pleased.
It is really great news, especially with how the world economic situation is at the moment. At least now we can concentrate on just driving and rallying.
Also, staying in the positive mode the Championship promoter, ISC, have today signed a deal with Rally Finland for the next five years; what are your thoughts on that?
Why shouldn't they? It's the best rally in the world and they definitely made a good choice.
You lead the Drivers' Championship by one point coming into your home event; it's certainly a turnaround from Argentina when you thought the Championship battle was all over. How do you assess your chances now?
Now we start all over again. For sure, after Argentina I didn't think we were going to be in this position but you never know what's going to happen. There are now only four more rallies left to go and it feels like the Championship is starting again. It is a lot more interesting now that Sébastien has made a few mistakes so thanks for that! It looks good for us.
Last year you came second to Sébastien [Loeb], missing out on the top spot by nine seconds. Your team boss Malcolm Wilson said earlier that you had some 'unfinished business' here – what are your thoughts on that, and being first on the road?
Tomorrow, and maybe on stages two and three, being first on the road might not be the best position to be, but when we go through the stages again the second time around it will be okay. I'm sure it will be fine. It is possible to win but like we saw last year he [Loeb] won the rally by nine seconds and I was a bit gutted about it. But we will try again now and for sure it will be a close call – it always is in Finland.
Sébastien, Citroën also confirmed yesterday its participation in the WRC for the next two years and also that they were in discussion with you and Dani Sordo about renewing your contracts for that period. There have been some recent rumours about your future in the sport; does this mean you will be staying with the WRC for the next two years?
I think so. At the moment it is not signed though so we will see.